InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Purity 9: Subterfuge ❯ Lost ( Chapter 147 )

[ X - Adult: No readers under 18. Contains Graphic Adult Themes/Extreme violence. ]
~~Chapter One Hundred Forty-Seven~~
~Lost~

-OoOoOo OoOoOoOoOoOoO-

'When lonely days turn to lonely nights
'You take a trip to the city lights
'And take the long way home
'Take the long way home …'

-'Take the Long Way Home' by Supertramp.


-Evan-


"Way to go, Zel!"

"Awesome show, Roka!"

"You kicked their asses, man!"

Grinning widely as he strode down the long, cinder-block hallway toward his dressing room, Evan nodded, slapping hands with a few of the crew who were scurrying around, heading for the main stage to start tearing down his gear.  Someone slipped a bottle of Sekt into his hand, and he tipped it to his lips without breaking his stride.  He poured faster than he could swallow, though, but he didn't really notice when some of it spilled down his face and onto his sweaty, bare chest.

"Damn," he muttered as he stepped into the dressing room and closed the door, raking his sweat-soaked hair off his head and wincing as it tangled around his fingers.  Letting out a deep breath, he set the bottle down on the makeup table and rubbed his face as his left leg bounced with nervous energy.  It was the same nervous energy that had led to a lot of his more notorious moments, he was sure.  He always came offstage reeling from the frenetic vibe of the crowd.  It was that feeling that fueled his fire, especially during tours that could last for months and months on end.

Just how, however, it was working against him.  Mike, in all his wisdom, had opted to book his return flight for tomorrow, but considering he'd done nothing for the last three days but worry about Valerie, he'd much rather have dealt with being swept from the sold out arena, straight to the airport instead.

'So what's stopping you, rockstar?'

Evan blinked and nodded slowly.  'That's true . . . Except commercial flights suck.'

'Maybe, but you'd get home a lot faster than if you wait until tomorrow and take the chartered plane.'

There was no arguing that logic, now was there?  Grabbing his cell phone, it only took him a few minutes to book a seat on the next flight out: first to London, then on to New York City.  At least he'd managed to get a seat in first class, so it'd be a little more comfortable.  Glancing at the clock on the wall as he fired off a text to Bone, he frowned.  He had about two hours to clean up and get to the airport before the flight boarded . . .

He sighed, scrubbing at his head with a grimace as he headed for the adjoining bathroom to get himself cleaned up.  He didn't have anything else to do since Mike never booked anything directly after a show, and he had to admit that he was never so glad for that as he was right now.  He'd mentioned on the flight over that Evan ought to consider taking a day or two to do a PR blitz.  Evan had told Mike that he wasn't interested this time around.

Turning on the shower tap before he peeled off the skin tight leather pants, Evan made a face.  Sweat and leather were a terrible combination . . . Too bad they looked so good.  That was pretty much the only reason he actually wore them, in the first place . . .

She said she was fine over the phone.  She'd said it multiple times, of course, even though he'd heard the worry in her voice, even though he'd sensed the preoccupation in her replies.  She was as fine as she could be, he figured, and he couldn't blame her for that, either.  He knew damn well that she didn't really want to think about any of it, and he had faith that she'd come to her own conclusions in her own time.

He just wanted to be there for her, to let her know that she wasn't alone.  Hell, he hadn't wanted to leave her in the first place, but she'd insisted.  He knew damn well that she was trying to downplay the significance of it all, knew that she was trying to convince herself that she just didn't care, and as much as he wanted to tell her that it was all right, that she didn't need to do that, he also knew that this time, she really needed to figure things out on her own.  That didn't mean that he had to like it . . .

"I got a car ready and sent Tim to the hotel to pick up your passport, ya."

Evan peered over the top of the shower stall and nodded at Bone.  "Thanks."

Bone shook his head but grinned.  "Never thought I'd see it, man . . ."

"See what?" Evan asked, squeezing his eyes closed as he rinsed shampoo out of his hair.

The big man chuckled.  "The day you'd want to rush right back to see a woman—any woman—well, other than your mama . . . 'Course, V, now . . . Guess she ain't just any woman, ya?"

"No, she isn't," he agreed, a somewhat sad little smile quirking his lips.  Crossing his arms, leaning on the top of the frosted glass shower wall, Evan stared at Bone.  "Let me ask you something."

"Okay."

He frowned.  "Why haven't you found your mate yet?"

"Mate?" Bone echoed, shaking his head.  "You kidding me?  I'm having way too much fun as it is, ya.  I'll find my mate.  I just ain't looking right now."

Evan grinned and turned back to finish his shower.  "Figured it was something like that," he allowed.  "Hey, if you see Mikey, tell him the plan, will you?"

Bone laughed.  "Already did.  He said to be careful and to let the stewardesses do their jobs."

Evan's grin widened.  "You coming back with me?"

Bone shook his head.  "Mikey thought it'd be best to leave tomorrow as planned.  We'll find someone to stand in for you long enough to get onto the plane, ya?  I figured that Marc could do it."

"Marc?  The lighting tech?"

Bone chuckled.  "Why the hell not?  He's tall and kinda gangly and about as hyper as you.  Add some shades, maybe a hat, a ratty brown wig, and instant Roka, you dig?"

Rolling his eyes, Evan laughed and shut off the shower taps.  "Just make sure no one gets too close to him—err, me . . ."

Bone tossed Evan a towel and grinned.  "That was the plan, duckie."


-Valerie-


Somewhere in the distance, the sound of a car horn's blast registered in Valerie's mind as she methodically placed one foot in front of the other.  Breath condensing in the frosty air, only to dissipate before the next one hit, she kept moving, absently enjoying the slight, rubbery feeling in her legs, the almost heavy feel of her arms that only came after a good, long jog.

She'd been all over the area in the last few hours since she'd decided to go for a run.  Munchies plodded along, perfectly content to stay beside her.

In fact, she had to admit, however grudgingly, that Munchies really was a very well trained, well behaved dog.  He might look like a beast, and yes, he was pretty ugly, but . . .

Well, it was hard to be afraid of a great lump like him, wasn't it?  He didn't really bark very much—she hadn't heard him bark at all—and if anything, he ran around, wagging his tail and generally trying his best to please her.  It was kind of funny, really.  She still wasn't ready to admit that all dogs were okay, but Munchies was all right.

Rounding the corner of her block, she slowed her step a little bit.  A hot shower, a light dinner, and maybe a movie or something sounded good.  Maybe she'd even take some time to look over a couple files for work . . .

'Or that file that's still sitting on the table by the door.'

Slowing to a walk, she frowned.  The file by the door—the one containing all the information that Bas had collected on her family . . . She still didn't want to read that, did she?  Why did she feel as though there were awful things in there?

'Don't be stupid,' she chided herself.  'They . . . They can't hurt me anymore . . .'

They couldn't, could they?  She wasn't a child anymore—She wasn't the little girl they'd cast aside to start a new family.  She'd decided long ago that she didn't need them.  She'd decided that they couldn't hurt her any more.  Now . . .?

Heaving a sigh, she shook her head, absently reaching down to pet Munchies' head.

Early stage renal failure . . .

'Damn.'

No, she didn't want to think about it, did she?  And she knew damn well that ultimately, Evan had told her because he had to believe that she should talk to them—to him, her father.  Why else would he have said anything at all?  He tried to understand, and she'd give him points for that, but he didn't really, did he?  And it was fine that he didn't.  He'd grown up in a family surrounded by love, even if he didn't see it.  That was how it was supposed to be, right?

But she knew better, didn't she?  She knew . . .

Munchies suddenly whined then gave a half bark before trying to take off at a dead sprint that nearly yanked Valerie's arm out of the socket.  "Munchies!" she hollered, twisting her wrist in an attempt to get a better grip on the leash.

Either the dog didn't hear her or he just didn't care because he kept going, leaving her with no option other than to run as fast as she could, lest he should yank her right off her feet.  She was about to panic when he abruptly stopped, and Valerie blinked as strong arms caught her, steadied her.  "Damn, woman.  Trying to run me down, are you?"

She blinked and finally looked up into the face she knew so well.  "E-Evan?" she said, slowly shaking her head.  Yes, it was Evan, all right, but he was wearing contact lenses so dark that his eyes looked almost black, and . . .? "What did you do to your hair?" she demanded sharply before she could stop herself.

He let go of her and reached up to touch his hair, as though he'd forgotten about it.  "Oh, that?" he said, grinning at her in a rather sheepish way.  "I had to disguise myself to get out of the stadium," he went on with a shrug.

"So you cut off your hair?" she demanded incredulously.  "Evan!"

He wrinkled his nose.  "Aww, relax, woman!  I'll go to Maddy's, and she'll fix it right up."

Valerie wasn't done; not by a long shot.  "That red is awful," she pointed out, flicking a hand at his head.  "You look like a walking, talking candy apple."

"Yeah, it is pretty bright, isn't it?" he allowed, turning his eyes upward.

Valerie snorted.  He'd cut it so short that it was also sticking straight up, all over his head, not unlike a spiny sea urchin.  The color was bad enough, but when she thought about the few other times when she'd seen him with short hair, well, those times had been pretty forgettable on the whole . . .

She started to cross her arms over her chest but got caught up on the now-slack leash around her wrist, so she yanked that off and jammed it into his chest.  "Take your beast, Roka," she demanded, shaking the end of the lead for good measure.

Evan took it with a grin then knelt down to greet his dog, only to stop and blink—and stare.  "Oh . . . wow . . . Aren't you pretty?"

Munchies whined and kind of scooted around with his rear end about two inches off the ground.

"Pink hair ribbon and pretty pink . . .  Is that a doggy diaper?" he asked, casting Valerie a questioning look.

She shrugged offhandedly.  "There are some things that I don't think the rest of the world needs to look at," she said in her own defense.  "If you got him neutered, you'd be doing the general population a favor."

Evan looked properly horrified at the suggestion that she do something about his dog's dangling bits.  "Bite your tongue, woman!" he gasped, covering his crotch with his hands and turning a sickly sort of grayish-yellow.

Valerie wasn't buying.  "Forget it," she told him with all the finality of an executioner.  "The last thing you want is for that creature to procreate.  There is no way on earth that any babies coming out of that would be even remotely cute."

Evan pouted at her as he reached over and mashed Munchies' ears down against his skull.  "Don't listen to her, Munchy-Munch," he said in a soothing tone of voice.  "V doesn't know what she's talking about."  Munchies whimpered and tried to lick Evan's cheek.

"I thought you weren't flying back until tomorrow," she finally said as she turned toward the apartment building where he had been sitting on the steps only minutes before.

Evan followed along behind her. "Well, I know you're not too keen on watching Munchies, here, but you've been a real trooper about it."

She shot him an unimpressed look over her shoulder as she unlocked the door and strode into the building.  "Don't patronize me, Roka," she told him with a snort.

He chuckled.  "I don't know if it's worse that you painted his claws—"

"I didn't.  The girl at the salon did," she interrupted, taking the stairs two at a time at a light jog.  "Precious Pink."

"Huh?"

She waved a hand dismissively.  "That's the name of the color: Precious Pink."

"Or that you bought him a pink collar and leash—"

"Pink's pretty," she pointed out.

"Or the equally Precious Pink rumba-panties you put over his doggie diaper."

"He looks good in pink," she insisted.  "Or as well as he can look, all things considered."

Evan laughed.  "V?"

Rounding the landing between floors, Valerie didn't look back.  "Hmm?"

"You like him, don't you?"

"Like who?"

He chuckled.  "Munchies," he said.  "Who else?"

She wrinkled her nose.  "I'm pretty sure that he's not a real dog," she said with a shrug.

"Oh?  And what do you think he is?" he challenged, sounding incredibly amused if the tone of his voice meant anything at all.

She broke into the smallest of smiles as she strode down the hallway toward her apartment.  "I'm kind of thinking that he's more of a cat in the disguise of a dog."

Evan snorted.  Loudly.  "A what?" he demanded, sounding properly aghast.

"He's all laid back and mellow," she pointed out, "like a really big cat with really atrocious grooming habits."

Evan wasn't impressed, if the look on his face meant anything at all.  She pressed her thumb against the identilock and waited for the beep to indicate that her print had been accepted.  "I don't know what you're wagging about," he said as he eyed his dog carefully.  "You're the one she's talking about."

"Suck it up, Roka," she said as she stepped into her apartment.  "Your big, tough dog isn't all that tough, that's all."

Evan tried to look irritated but gave up when he broke into a grin instead.  "You're right.  He's not.  He just looks badass, right?'

Valerie rolled her eyes but smiled.  Considering what Munchies was currently wearing?  Badass didn't really apply . . . "So how was the show?" she asked, stripping off the oversized sweatshirt and tossing it aside.

"Not too bad," he replied.  "Pretty damn good, actually."

"Good," she said.   Plopping down on the sofa, she leaned over to untie her shoes.  "No problems with your fill-in bassist?"

"Nah," he said, stretching out on the floor so Munchies could attack him.  "He's done the gig before, though, so I didn't figure it was going to be a big deal."

"Glad to hear it," she said, pausing long enough to stare at him for a long moment.  "Should you really let him lick your face like that?"

Evan pushed Munchies aside long enough to grin at her.  "He's not hurting anything," he insisted.  "'Sides, it's not like he just licked his balls or anything considering you put him in a diaper.  Munchies, aren't you at least a little ashamed?  You're wearing ruffly panties, for God's sake."

Munchies whined at Evan, his rear end wiggling around on the floor a little more.  Evan laughed.  "Yeah, I guess if she wanted to put those on me, I'd let her do it, too."

Rolling her eyes, Valerie laughed despite herself.  "I'm going to go take a shower," she announced, brushing aside the sense of well-being that Evan's mere presence could inspire in her.  "If you leave, take that dog with you."

Evan yawned and pushed himself upright, leaning back on his hands as he stared at her.  "I was thinking about getting a nap," he confessed then shrugged.  "Then I could take you out for dinner—you know, since you were kind enough to take care of my dog, here."

"Dinner, huh?" she drawled.  "I could let you do that."

He flopped back down, dragging Munchies over with one arm and laying his head on the dog.  "Wake me up when you're ready to go," he told her with a little grin.

Valerie pursed her lips but smiled.  "All right," she agreed, grabbing a heather gray microfiber plush throw off the back of a chair and shaking it open.  Then she spread the blanket over him and sighed.  She would have suggested that he go lie down on her bed, but damned if he wasn't already asleep.


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A/N:
Sekt : German and Austrian sparkling wine.  I became familiar with this stuff when given a number of bottles on my eighteenth birthday.  I don't drink, so I didn't sample it, but if I recall, I didn't care for the smell of it, either lol.

'Take the Long Way Home' first appeared on Supertramp's 1979 release, Breakfast in America.  Song written by and copyrighted to Rick Davies and Roger Hodgson.
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MMorg
inugurl338 ——— Knitting knots ——— sutlesarcasm (Lol, you know, I was wondering if anyone would catch that name!  LOL) ——— KittyBoBo (I would love to see them!) ——— lilswtheart9811 ——— kamackie (It's just nice to hear from you again!  Missed you!) ——— puppypal27 ——— twc_airen (Wow!  That really means a lot to me!!)  ——— RisikaFox ——— tessie_fanfic ——— maidengarnet (Truthfully, I feel much the same way you do about my biologicals, too) ——— inuyashaloverr ——— avoria ——— GalaticFire ——— fanfic7inu ——— alessa186 ——— anime_game_lover (It did; thank you!!!) ——— Nate Grey (What?  About him telling Bas to go check on V?  LOL, maybe a fortuitous accident?) ——— theablackthorn ——— ladyace91 (Dammit!  You made ME cry!)  ——— Inusbabe ——— jessie6491 ——— mermaidtail989 ——— Dark Inu Fan ——— caramel twists
To everyone I didn't comment on: THANK YOU!  You've all made me feel a lot better, and you have no idea how much I appreciate your kind words!
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Final
Thought from Evan:
Precious Pink, eh …?
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Blanket disclaimer for this fanfic (will apply to this and all other chapters in Subterfuge):  I do not claim any rights to InuYasha or the characters associated with the anime/manga.  Those rights belong to Rumiko Takahashi, et al.  I do offer my thanks to her for creating such vivid characters for me to terrorize.
~Sue~
Chapter 146
Chapter 148
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